Missing the Mark

Have you ever tried to take on a big task all by yourself. In almost every case it is easier to tackle big things with help than it is to go it alone. The same thing applies to our relationship with God. When we try and go it alone in life, we are setting ourselves up for a much harder road than is necessary. But we don’t always believe that’s really the case. Fortunately, there are several great examples from which we can learn this important truth. One of those is the book of Judges…all of it. Starting today and for the next few weeks, we are going to walk through this intriguing and sometimes disturbing little book as we see over and over again that life is better when we walk it with God. Thanks for joining me as we go.

Missing the Mark

How many of you remember where you were on January 28, 1986? Like or comment if you do. I’ll confess that I was four and I really don’t remember much of anything prior to my 5th birthday, but I’ll bet some of you who are not all that much older than I am do. I’ll bet you remember very clearly. And just to prove my point, what happened on that date? Post your response in the comments. Some of you knew immediately. Just before noon local time, a space shuttle called the Challenger was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. While that’s always exciting, this launch was special because it was the first of the now-infamous Teacher-in-Space program. Christa McAuliffe, a history and English teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, had been selected from more than 11,000 applicants to the program in 1985 and here, just a few months later, she was making her debut. But the excitement quickly turned to shock and then horror as 73 seconds into the flight the Challenger exploded, killing McAuliffe and the six other crew members on board with her.

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Morning Musing: Hosea 14:9

“Let whoever is wise understand these things, and whoever is insightful recognize them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

I write a lot of these things. I honestly don’t always remember what I’ve written about after a few weeks. It’s always interesting to me, then, when I go to prepare a blog and discover that I’ve already written an entry on the exact same verse. The few times I’ve done that, though, I’ve written on different aspects of the verse and from a somewhat different angle. The heart is the same, but the application is situational. This is a verse I wrote on back in May. Here’s a second look at it. Thanks for reading.

I enjoy trying to do origami. Let me say that again with a bit of emphasis: I enjoy trying to do origami. The idea of it captures my interest, but I’m not very good. It’s not for a lack of effort. I’ve tried many different projects over the years. I’ve bought whole books about it. I’ve admired pictures of amazing creations. But when it comes to folding paper to make something cool, there is a certain way to do it. If you don’t do it just right, you won’t be able to do it at all. What Hosea says here suggests that following God is a little like this. Let me explain.

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Morning Musing: 1 Samuel 16:2

“And Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter) ‬‬

Following Jesus can be an adventurous affair. Things had disintegrated under Saul to the extent that he was actively eliminating potential threats to his rule. This is a mark of a truly insecure ruler. Samuel wasn’t someone who could travel freely in Israel. His profile was high enough that when he went somewhere, everyone—including Saul—figured it meant something. If he did anything significant—like, say, anointing someone else to be king—word was likely to get back to Saul who would likely deal with both the threat and its source with ruthless efficiency. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Judges 8:33-35

“As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.  And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

The epitaph for Gideon is presented as an indictment of the people of Israel.  They were so incorrigibly wicked that they turned away from God at the first chance they had and didn’t honor the memory of this great leader.  But, I tend to see this as more of an indictment of Gideon himself.  He may have fulfilled the calling God placed on him to free the people from the oppression of the Midianites, but he was a terrible leader and not a very good person to boot. Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Joshua 23:12-13

“For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the Lord your God has given you.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Have you ever tried clearing a path for the first time?  I haven’t, but before we moved into our new house, we rallied some men from the church to come and help us clear the backyard.  No one had touched it for what was likely several years and it was a mess.  The patch of trees and branches and vines was so thick that you could just barely see through to the land behind us.  It took the group of us several hours, several chainsaws, a tractor, and two different days, but we got it done.  With all the mess and poison ivy (which I discovered the hard way I can get…twice) now gone, it’s well on its way to be a great space.  Eventually.  I can’t imagine how much work it would have been to have tried doing all that work on my own. Read the rest…